Generally, law firms ensure that their overall billing process is efficient and accurate. In the same way, paralegal billing practices are also considered by firm staff. Here are a few tips to remember when billing paralegals:
- The ethics and standards of paralegal billing should be considered
The standards of accuracy, clarity, and professionalism required by attorneys apply to paralegal billing as well. Additionally, law firms need to be able to distinguish between outsource billable paralegal services and those that are not. At a law firm, paralegals wear many hats and perform many critical tasks. The only legal work that should be billed is substantive work that would otherwise be performed by a lawyer. Paralegal work that is billable in your jurisdiction must also meet the guidelines.
- Provide specific and detailed information
Effective law firm billing relies on clarity, consistency, and communication. For this reason, it's best practice for paralegal billing to be specific and detailed, and easy to understand my clients. The client should know when a paralegal has completed legal work and exactly what they have done. Paralegals, for example, should provide detailed notes on invoices when billing on an hourly basis.
- Quick billing is effective
Clear, accurate bills must be sent to clients promptly and consistently to ensure a healthy law firm collection. However, billing promptly is also an excellent way to minimize confusion in paralegal billing. The longer a firm waits to send a client bill, the harder it is for the client to remember what services they received. Late bills may cause clients to lose track of their invoices. Clarified notes can help ensure a smooth experience for clients, as previously mentioned. The client can also read the bill more easily if it is billed promptly.
- Utilize a cloud-based billing system
Billing can be made easier and more efficient for the whole firm with the right tools and systems. When several people—lawyers and paralegals—are billing, cloud-based legal technology creates standardized, automated systems that allow everyone to create accurate invoices for clients.
A paralegal can bring many benefits to a law firm's productivity and efficiency. The more law firms know about what tasks paralegals can bill, the more chances they have to increase law firm profits. Delegating billable work to paralegals lets firm's lower client costs while freeing up more lawyer time, since paralegals can complete substantive legal tasks at a lower hourly rate than lawyers.
The benefits of paralegal billing far outweigh the disadvantages. It always pays to know the rules regarding what paralegals are authorized to bill for and what they cannot. Paralegals can be an effective way to serve legal clients better if they learn and abide by those rules.